Increasing Meth use among Australian youth "alarming" and more 11am zedlines

Methamphetamine use among Australians aged 15 to 24 has doubled over the past five years, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. [image: wikimedia]

In local news..

Harding pledges to give KGS a "green makeover"
Labor’s mayoral candidate Rod Harding has pledged to lead a green makeover of King George Square to revamp the public area.

The work would attempt to improve the heavily criticised $28 million redevelopment undertaken in 2009 and include more grass, shade, and a fountain, with an expected cost of $7 million.

Mr Harding says the square is currently underutilised and this could see it become a place people would want to stop and spend time.

Influenza outbreak hits QLD nursing home
A flu outbreak in a far north Queensland aged care facility has left three dead and a further 60 ill.

Cairns Health Queensland manager Anita Ghose says a large proportion of the remaining 36 residents and 24 staff affected tested positive for Influenza B but have recovered well.

This is the second disease outbreak within the region’s nursing homes after seven people died at a facility on the Atherton tablelands earlier this year.

In national news...
Leaks show NBN struggling but CFO says roll-out "not at risk"
A leaked internal document shows the National Broadband Network is facing several setbacks however the company and the Federal government maintain the project is on track.

The document dated February 19 shows NBN Co failed to meet several project targets and is tackling a growing number of unapproved designs and other issues.

Some shortfalls include completing 29,000 Fibre to the Node 'construction completion' projects against a target of nearly 95,000, and getting 662,665 designs approved against a target of over 1.4 million.

Labor's communications spokesperson Jason Clare described the Federal Government's handling of the project as "an epic fail," however Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says the Coalition had taken a "business-like" approach to the project and NBN Co chief financial officer Stephen Rue says the roll-out is not at risk.

Meth use among Australian 15 to 24-year-olds doubles
Meth and ice use among Australian youth has more than doubled in the past five years, with Methamphetamine use in general tripling.

A new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia shows there are close to 270,000 regular and dependent methamphetamine users in Australia, up from 90,000 five years ago.

One of the study's authors says the most alarming finding was the increase in users aged 15 to 24-year-olds, indicating a rising number of new methamphetamine users.

In international news...
Arctic Russian mining disaster death toll climbs
The death toll from a mining disaster in Arctic Russia has climbed to 36 following a methane explosion which killed 5 rescue workers and a mine employee.

The 6 were part of a group attempting to reach a further 26 trapped after explosions caved in a section of the mine on Thursday.

On Sunday Russia’s most senior federal disaster official declared the rescue operation over and all missing miners dead, in what is now the country’s worst mining disaster in recent years.

Pilot and co-pilot killed in Nepal plane crash
Two people are dead after a second small passenger plane crash in Nepal this week.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed when the plane came down while attempting an emergency landing in a mountainous area of western Nepal four hours walk from the nearest town, injuring the other nine passengers on board.

Last Wednesday, 23 people were killed in a crash north-west of Kathmandu.